Tue | May 21, 2019

Kingston is not Jamaica, Mr Crawford

Published:Wednesday | March 13, 2019 | 12:14 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I have followed the commentary about Mr Crawford being misguided in his assessment of his opponent.

I think Mr Crawford grew up in Kingston, where there does exist an elite ‘brown’ and white class of people who descend from the plantocracy or the Arab merchant classes. He mistakenly applies this ‘class analysis’ to rural Jamaica, where Ann-Marie Vaz grew up.

Outside of Kingston and, perhaps, Montego Bay, where this elite class may still exist, the complexion of people does not necessarily correlate to their social position in the rest of Jamaica.

For example, the parish of St Elizabeth has a fairly large population of light-skinned Jamaicans, often with light-brown, blue, grey or green eyes. They are, for the most part, small farmers, ­countryfolk, or peasants, if you like this word. Their light skin and exotic eyes do not bring them a higher social position than their neighbours and relatives of darker hue.

I think Mr Crawford should leave Kingston from time to time and explore the rest of Jamaica to test his complexion/class analysis. Outside of Kingston, no one speaks of ‘uptown people’ and ‘downtown people’, and neither is there a ­predisposition to assess someone’s class background solely based on their complexion.

I am not saying colourism does not exist at all in Jamaica.

I am just suggesting that too often, people use the Kingston class/colour paradigm to tar the entire Jamaica with the same brush.

The advertisement featuring Mrs Vaz’s grandma should serve to enlighten Mr Crawford about social realities outside of the Kingston Metropolitan Area, where many dark-skinned people have wealth and social position and where many light-skinned people have neither.

MARTHA BRAE

martha.brae@yahoo.com